Breathe Issue 14

Everything’s aflutter here at Breathe. Deep into summer, the nearby gardens are full of life as friends enjoy lunchtime picnics; workers stretch their legs with a welcome run or walk; and hardworking pollinators busy themselves with the job of keeping the planet’s resources in good shape.

Among them are butterflies, the iconic, much-loved creatures of the often undervalued invertebrate world (their fellow pollinators, including moths and wasps, seem not to have the same appeal). Yet even the ongoing fascination with – and undeniable allure of – butterflies can’t hide the fact their numbers have been in decline.

At the same time, there’s growing concern that the Earth’s biodiversity is shrinking as climate change and unfettered agricultural development threaten plant species and food crops across the globe.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Conservation groups are working hard to restore butterfly- and caterpillar-friendly shrubs and grasses while the UK’s Millennium Seed Bank is at the heart of an international effort to safeguard, share and research the world’s wild seed population. These groups, just like those industrious pollinators, are busy.

But busy isn’t always a good state. If you find you always have loads on, you’re rushed off your feet and never have time to think, try to take a step back and ask yourself if you’ve inadvertently accepted the default position that to have a never-ending to-do list is interesting, fulfilling and worthwhile. It may feel reassuring but is it really rewarding?

All too often it means missing out on the sheer brilliance of life – the sound of languorous laughter carried on a warm breeze, the fragrance of deliciously scented tea roses, the sight of those beautiful butterflies basking in the sunshine. Sidestep busy and savour the summer.